|Use of ADD drugs soars in MLB as amphetamines are banned|
|Written by Admin|
|Tuesday, 15 January 2008 22:54|
In 2006, there were 35 so-called ``Therapeutic Use Exemptions'' for drugs, of which 28 were for Attention Deficit Disorder and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, according to data provided to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee by Major League Baseball and the players' association. In 2007, the exemptions skyrocketed to 111, of which 103 were for ADD and ADHD.
A copy of the data was obtained Tuesday by The Associated Press
``This demands an explanation. There's something fundamentally wrong them going from 28 to 103,'' said Dr. Gary Wadler, chairman of committee that determines the World Anti-Doping Agency's banned-substances list. ``If we had this percentage increase in the general population, it would be on the evening news as a national epidemic. It's an outrageous number.''
The National Institute of Mental Health estimates 3 percent to 5 percent of children have ADHD, according to its Web site.
Wadler said the ban on amphetamines in 2006 appears to be tied to the increase.
``I can't prove anything. Certainly you put all the facts together, I think that's a reasonable explanation,'' he said. ``Might there be others? I guess so. It could be an anomaly year of some sort.''
According to the MLB data, 1,354 players were subject to testing last year. That means 8.2 percent received permission from their team physician and Dr. Bryan Smith, baseball's independent program administrator, to use Ritalin and Adderall, stimulants better known as treatments for hyperactive kids.
``That would make that almost eight times the normal adult usage in our population,'' said Massachusetts Democrat John Tierney, who brought up the issue.
Baseball already has made changes in the TUE process for 2008. Before a player will be allowed to use a drug, the team physician must send the prescription to the independent administrator for approval before the player uses the substance.
``We don't want abuse. We don't want guys taking Adderall to supplant their need for amphetamines,'' two-time NL MVP Dale Murphy said at a debate on performance-enhancing drugs.
MLB plans to convene a meeting of physicians and experts early next month and has approached the players' union about participating.
``This is a topic on which we intend to be proactive, to make sure that we're adequately handling the issue of TUEs,'' said Rob Manfred, baseball's executive vice president of labor relations.
AP Sports Writers Howard Fendrich in Washington and Rachel Cohen in New York contributed to this report.